We boarded Aurora in the port of Southampton, on a chilly December day, for a 3 night cruise which would give us a day at sea, a day in Zeebrugge to visit the Christmas markets in Bruges, or travel further afield, before arriving back in Southampton.
UPDATE: It was announced in February 2018 that with effect from voyage R905 in April 2019, Aurora will become an ‘adult only’ ship.
Read my review and watch my video below, and you can check out my photos of Aurora on Facebook. Then call GoCruise with Ian on 01455821770 or 08002922850 to book your next cruise, or to get more information.
As we were spending a day at sea Aurora was travelling very slowly, so we had a very calm and sunny day at sea on the Sunday. We had a relaxing day, and I got a lot of filming and photos taken, and spent some time up on deck. Monday was again very sunny and dry, although a little chilly, and many people headed off to Bruges or further afield. We just took the shuttle bus to Blankenberge and had a wander around town. After doing a bit of shopping, and enjoying a lovely hot chocolate, we headed back to the ship for a late lunch.
Aurora isn’t a massive ship, but took a little bit of time to find our way around. Like some other ships, certain lifts don’t go to all the same decks, and not all public decks have a corridor down both sides of the ship. Having said that, it didn’t take long to settle in, and we enjoyed the ship even more than we expected to, and would happily cruise on her again. I now know why many my customers say that she is their favourite ship in the P&O Cruises fleet.
When we were about to depart from Zeebrugge, many passengers, including ourselves, went to the Terrace Pool area for the Great British Festive Sail Away. P&O Cruises are renowned for their Sail Away parties, with great singalongs and Union Flag waving, and being just before Christmas there were several festive songs included. Even Santa Claus appeared, and it was an enjoyable experience. I would urge anyone on a P&O cruise to attend the Sail Away party.
Ship Facts & Figures
At 76,152 gross tons, she carries 1,874 passengers and 850 crew members. Aurora entered service in May 2000, and was refitted in 2014, when the Union flag design was added to her hull. Aurora will be the second smallest ship in the P&O Cruises fleet, after Oriana, when Adonia joins Azamara Club Cruises in 2018 as the Azamara Pursuit.
Aurora has 32 grades of accommodation, which range from a PF grade twin inside cabin up to the A1 grade Penthouse Suite. You can choose from inside, larger inside, outside (some with obstructed or part obstructed view), larger outside and single outside cabins, balcony and deluxe balcony cabins, mini-suites, suites and the Penthouse suite.
There are 22 cabins and suites which are adapted for wheelchair use, across a range of grades from inside cabins to a suite.
There are 3 pools, one of which has a skydome, 5 whirlpool spas, a sauna and steam room, and a fully equipped gym. There is also a Sports Court, golf nets, shuffleboard and deck quoits. For a supplement, there is also the Oasis Spa and Salon, offering a comprehensive range of treatments and classes. You can also have some ‘retail therapy’ in the shops onboard, and the library, card room and many of the bars are open during the day.
There are a host of options to keep you entertained, including the Curzon Theatre for the main shows, Carmen’s Show Lounge, Masquerade, the Playhouse Cinema, the Casino and of course a great selection of bars and lounges.
The Reef! is the place to be for kids aged from 2 – 17, and the activities are split into 4 age groups.
- Splashers for 2-4 year olds
- Surfers for 5-8 year olds
- Scubas for 9-12 year olds
- H20 for 13-17 year olds
There is also a Night Nursery, which is complimentary for children from 6 months to 4 years old, and it is generally open between 18.00 and 02.00 each night, although children must be booked in by 23.00 at the latest. Parents are given a pager so that they can be contacted if their infant wakes up. Space is limited, and on a first come first served basis.
The Terrace Pool is reserved for families, and children are also allowed in the Crystal Pool, and there is also a children’s paddling pool. The pools are not supervised, and children under 16 years old must be supervised by a parent or guardian (the Riviera Pool is reserved exclusively for adults).
Your cruise is on a full board basis, which includes a choice of dining venues.
- Freedom Dining in Medina Restaurant – dine at a time to suit you during the evening, and choose where you want to sit
- Club Dining in the Alexandria Restaurant – traditional first and second sitting dinner, where you have an allocated table and have the same table companions and waiters each night
- Horizon Buffet Restaurant – this self-service restaurant allows you to dine around the clock, from early-risers light breakfast, through full breakfast, snacks, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and late-night snacks. This is also the venue for children’s teas, usually served from 17.00 to 17.45, but parental supervision is required
- Lido Grill and the Sidewalk Café – open at specified times for self-service snacks
- Room Service – breakfast is included in the cost of your cruise, but other items during the day have a small supplement
If you want to treat yourself, perhaps for a special occasion, there are also a choice of dining venues where a supplement is charged.
- Sindhu – Atul Kocher’s restaurant offering a fusion of Indian and British food
- The Glass House – choose from around 40 wines, hand-picked by Olly Smith, together will a menu of delicious foods to accompany them
- The Beach House – located in a section of the buffet restaurant in the evening, a selection of dishes are included in the cover charge, with others attracting an additional supplement
Tea and coffee making facilities are provided in all grades of accommodation, and you can also get self-service tea and coffee in the buffet restaurants. Costa coffee is available to purchase in Raffles Bar
Smoking onboard is only allowed in designated spaces on Port Side, Deck 7, and at designated tables of the Riviera Bar on Port Side, Deck 12. All other areas of the ship, including cabins and cabin balconies, are strictly non-smoking. These rules apply to all Electronic cigarettes, as well as standard cigarettes, cigars and pipes.
For more information, or to book your P&O cruise, call GoCruise with Ian on 01455821770 or 08002922850.